Main Sessions

Tuesday, October 20

Keynote: Dr. Katharine Wilkinson
Drawdown Rising: Local government’s role in transformational climate leadership

11:20 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.

The challenge is to apply climate solutions with speed and at scale. The opportunity is to create a more vibrant, equitable, and resilient world. Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, renowned expert, strategist, and author on how humanity can address the climate crisis, says the solutions for a regenerative future are already largely in hand.

Drawing from her most recent publications, The Drawdown Review and All We Can Save, Dr. Wilkinson will provide frameworks for climate solutions and transformational leadership, sharing insights for impact in communities across Canada.

In this keynote, Wilkinson will articulate a bold vision for an inclusive, life-giving future, grounded in climate solutions that are equitable, economically viable, and scientifically proven for municipal leaders to apply today.

Q & A to follow.


Dr. Katharine Wilkinson is an author, strategist, teacher, and one of 15 “women who will save the world,” according to Time magazine. Her writings on climate include The Drawdown Review, the New York Times bestseller Drawdown, and Between God & Green. She is co-editor of the new bestseller All We Can Save and co-founder of The All We Can Save Project, in support of women’s climate leadership.

Katharine Wilkinson

As principal writer and editor-in-chief at Project Drawdown, Dr. Wilkinson leads the organization’s work to share climate solutions globally. She speaks widely, including a TED Talk on climate and gender equality with 1.9 million views. She holds a doctorate in geography and environment from Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. Find her @DrKWilkinson.

2020 Sustainable Communities Awards Celebration

12:20–12:30 p.m.

Join us as we celebrate the winners of FCM's 2020 Sustainable Communities Awards, including the winner of GMF's 20th anniversary Visionary Award. You'll hear from FCM's President and our sponsor, Tree Canada, on what makes these projects so inspiring and how you can learn more about them.

Resiliency Roundtables: small group discussions on applying what you learned to your community challenges

3–3:30 p.m.

Join your fellow attendees for the first in a series of facilitated, small group discussions where you can discuss your sustainability challenges and solutions. Perfect for folks who are excited to network and deepen their learning through engaging conversation.

Wednesday, October 21

Expert panel: An inclusive recovery for resilient communities

11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

COVID-19 has hit all Canadian municipalities hard, but it has also exposed the fault-lines within our communities, including economic inequality, social exclusion, gender inequity, and the lack of services for vulnerable populations. In this session, our panel of urban experts will discuss how local governments and community organizations can build back inclusively to create equitable communities that are environmentally, socially and economically resilient.


Moderator: Zahra Ebrahim, CEO, Monumental

Moderator: Zahra Ebrahim

Zahra is a public interest designer and strategist, focused on shifting power to people who are typically underrepresented in institutions and systems. Her work has focused on deep, community-led approaches to policy, infrastructure, and service design. She is the Co-Founder of Monumental, an organization focused on supporting an equitable recovery that builds fair and just cities and institutions. She was recently named Next City’s Vanguard “40 under 40 Civic Leader”, Ascend Canada’s Mentor of the Year, one of “Tomorrow’s Titans” in Toronto Life, and one of WXN’s Top 100 Women in Canadian Business.


Dr. Deatra Walsh
Director of Advocacy and Communications, Municipalities of Newfoundland and Labrador

Dr. Deatra Walsh

Deatra holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and a Master of Rural Development. She conducts research on wellness, environmental change, labour mobility, and homelessness. Before joining Municipalities of Newfoundland and Labrador, she worked with the Arctic University of Norway and the Government of Nunavut.

Dr. Jalonne L. White-Newsome
Senior Program Officer, Environment Program, The Kresge Foundation

Jalonne L. White-Newsome

Dr. Jalonne L. White-Newsome is a senior program officer at The Kresge Foundation, responsible for the Environment Program's grant portfolio on Climate Resilient and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) and serves as a member of Kresge’s Operationalizing Racial Equity team. A native of Detroit, Jalonne earned a Ph.D. in environmental health sciences from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Southern Methodist University and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University.

Katharine Lusk
Co-Director, Boston University Initiative on Cities

Katherine Lusk

Katharine spearheads university-wide urban programs and interdisciplinary research on mayoral leadership and smart urban sustainability. She previously served as Policy Advisor to Boston’s Mayor, following ten years advising Fortune 500 companies. She holds degrees from Harvard University and Williams College.

Madeleine Redfern
President, Ajungi/Nuvujaq

Madeleine Redfern

Indigenous woman involved in high-tech and innovation. Actively involved in transformative technologies in telecommunications, transportation and energy. President of Ajungi Consulting Group; President of Nuvujaq Society; Chair of Nunavut Legal Services Board; Advisor to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Trudeau Foundation Board Member (former Trudeau Foundation Mentor); Co-Chair with Gordon Munk Arctic Security Program; Board member of Maliiganik Legal Aid. I am from Iqaluit, Nunavut and a graduate of the Akitsiraq Law School with an LLB from the University of Victoria. First Inuk to be given a Supreme Court of Canada clerkship. 

Keynote: the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

12:30–12:50 p.m

We are thrilled to welcome the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, as a keynote speaker at SCC. In this address, Minister McKenna will share her vision for how local and Federal government can work together to green our communities.

Resiliency Roundtables: small group discussions on applying what you learned to your community challenges

3–3:30 p.m.

Join your fellow attendees for the second in a series of facilitated, small group discussions where you can discuss your sustainability challenges and solutions. Perfect for folks who are excited to network and deepen their learning through engaging conversation.

Thursday, October 22

Municipal leaders panel: Building back greener

11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have left Canadian municipalities facing simultaneous challenges: a public health emergency, declining revenues, increasing expenses and changes to how our communities need to function. At the same time, the resulting stimulus investment by all orders of government offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in solutions that could help our economies recover, create more livable communities, improve our energy efficiency and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. In this session, municipal leaders will discuss how their communities are overcoming the challenges of the pandemic, and beginning to “build back” better and greener. We will discuss how to make communities resilient and sustainable in the face of the immediate and longer-term challenges that confront our communities.

Moderator: Carole Saab, CEO, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Carole Saab is a tireless champion for cities and communities, driving an ambitious vision for local government leadership in building a more sustainable, livable and inclusive Canada.

Carole is an accomplished strategist with a decade of experience in federal and municipal advocacy. Carole has been a driving force behind watershed achievements for municipalities, securing unprecedented investment and progress for cities and communities. She is recognized by peers as a game-changer, and consistently voted as one of Canada’s top 100 lobbyists.

Carole’s leadership has positioned FCM as one of the most respected and effective advocacy organizations in Canada.


Ben Henderson
Councillor Ward 8, City of Edmonton

First elected in 2007, Ben is in his fourth term as the Councillor for Ward 8 in the City of Edmonton. Before being elected to City Council most of Ben's career was spent working in theatre as a Director, Dramaturg and Artistic Director. He is also trained as a negotiator and a mediator. While on Council, he has been a champion for the Winter City Strategy, the New Public Engagement Policy, and End Poverty Edmonton, the City's poverty elimination strategy. He is also currently one of the two Councillors responsible for Edmonton's Energy Transition Initiative and Edmonton's Active Transportation Initiative. Ben also serves nationally as Chair of the Green Municipal Fund, and is an Edmonton City Council representative at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Duane Nicol
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), City of Selkirk, MB

Prior to becoming the City of Selkirk’s CAO in May of 2014, Duane was a City Councillor from 2002 to 2014, serving two years as Deputy Mayor. Duane has an honours degree in Political Studies from the University of Manitoba, an honours Business Analyst certificate from Red River College, Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning from the IPWEA and has recently completed his masters degree in Public Administration through the University of Victoria. Duane has a passion for modernizing municipal government by building resilient organizational systems. Under his leadership, the city has focused on developing the skills and capacity of municipal employees, engineering citizen-focused and lean processes, using data to improve decision making and the judicious introduction of life-simplifying technology. He is the Vice-President of the Manitoba Municipal Administrator’s Association, past chair of Asset Management Canada, a member of FCM’s MAMP Technical Working Group and a member of the Municipal Climate Services Collaborative, a joint initiative of the FCM and the Canadian Centre for Climate Services.

Laurence Lavigne Lalonde
City Councillor, Executive committee member, lead, ecological transition and resilience, Espace pour la vie and urban agriculture, City of Montreal, QC

Laurence Lavigne Lalonde holds a B.A. in psychology from the Université de Montréal and an M.A in international development and social project management from the Université Paris 1 Sorbonne.

Elected as councillor for the district of Maisonneuve-Longue Pointe for the first time in 2013, she currently sits on the City of Montréal’s Executive committee as the lead on transparency, democracy, governance, civic life, Space for life (Espace pour la vie), ecological transition and resilience, as well as urban agriculture.

Passionate about leveraging urban planning and environmental protection to foster social inclusion and reduce poverty, Coucillor Lavigne Lalonde firmly believes that sound governance, democracy and transparency are essential to improving the lives of citizens.

She is currently working on the implementation of Montreal’s Climate Action Plan, which aims to make the city carbon-neutral by 2050. 

Lisa Helps
Mayor, City of Victoria

Mayor Lisa Helps has served as Mayor of Victoria since 2014, before that she was a city Councillor from 2011-2014. She is relentlessly future leaning and works hard to ensure that Victoria is prosperous, resilient, welcoming and ready for challenges and opportunities ahead. Mayor Helps prioritizes collaboration, diversity and building understanding. She brings together a diverse range of community leaders to work together to advance ambitious programs such as future-focused economic development, climate action, affordable housing, and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Virginie Dufour
City Councillor and member of the Executive Committee, City of Laval

Virginie Dufour and is a City Councillor and member of the Executive Committee in Laval. She oversees urban planning and the environment and sits on several committees and boards of directors, including Tricentris and the Association québécoise d'urbanisme. She holds an MBA from Université Laval.

Clean Growth Pathway and the role for the gas system to achieve GHG reduction targets
Presented by FortisBC


In this lab, Tyler Bryant of FortisBC will outline the potential of the gas distribution system to align with deep decarbonization objectives. FortisBC is one of the leading utilities in North America to make climate solutions a reality and reached out to Guidehouse Consulting to develop an in-depth evaluation of the GHG reduction potential of the gas distribution system and renewable gases to achieve deep decarbonization. The findings highlight the importance of energy infrastructure and the key pathways and challenges for deep emissions reductions in BC and Canada.

Presenter: Tyler Bryant, Public Policy Manager FortisBC

How to develop the right carbon accounting framework to manage GHG emissions
Presented by Sustainability Solutions Group and the City of Edmonton


Last month, Edmonton made history by becoming the first city in Canada to incorporate a carbon budget into its city-wide plan. SSG's Yuill Herbert and the City of Edmonton's Abhishek Chakrabotra will take you through Edmonton's process of developing a carbon accounting framework and tool, and how it systematically manages GHG emissions for city operations and the community as a whole.

Abhishek Chakraborti, Senior Environmental Project Manager, City of Edmonton
Yuill Herbert, Co-founder and Principal, SSG

Resilience Roundtables: charting the path forward

3–3:30 p.m.

Join your fellow attendees for the last in a series of facilitated, small group discussions. Let's explore how to advance our collective work for sustainable development in our communities. Together, we’ll identify the key opportunities to address energy efficiency, climate change and social inclusion, and how FCM can support you in this journey.


Tuesday, October 20

Sustainable Communities Awards Talks I

1:30–3 p.m.

In this first of three TED Talk-style sessions, three 2020 Sustainable Communities Award winners will present how their innovative projects are addressing sustainability issues in their communities. After the presentations, you'll have a chance to engage with the people behind these projects and learn how to advance projects in your own community. You’ll also be invited to vote for one SC Award project to receive the 2020 Inspire Award, which commemorates the most innovative projects of the year.

Guest presenters:

  • Rami Maassarani, Project Coordinator, Corporation of Loyalist Township
  • Thomas Schmidt, Commissioner, Transportation and Environmental Services, Region of Waterloo
  • Tom Lumsden, Blatchford Development Manager, City of Edmonton

Coastal Communities Engagement on Sustainability

1:30–3 p.m.

Coastal communities face a variety of challenges including climate change, sustainable development of natural resources and pollution. This session will explore concrete steps shoreline communities are taking to address multi-jurisdictional challenges while harnessing innovative tools (like documentary filmmaking) to reach and engage public audiences.

Guest presenters: 

  • Cody Westman, Filmmaker, CatsEye Cinema
  • Edmundo Fausto, Sustainability Coordinator, Public Works, City of St. John’s
  • Jo-Anne St Godard, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Ontario
  • Andrew Marr, Solid Waste Planning Director, Metro Vancouver and Co-Chair, Plastics Advisory Panel, National Zero Waste Council

Integrating climate considerations into municipal asset management

1:30–3 p.m.

This session will profile the resources that FCM has developed that provide communities with a process to assess the implications of climate risk within their asset management system. We’ll also lead you through a high-level hazard-based risk assessment process.

The business case for sustainability in energy projects

1:30–3 p.m.

With the economic uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in energy efficiency or renewable energy might not be considered the obvious choice, if considered at all. However, these types of investments can play a key role in creating high-impact solutions and strategies that drive local economic recovery efforts, create jobs and improve affordability and quality of life for residents.

In this session you’ll learn how to build a business case for sustainable initiatives, drawing on concrete examples from municipalities. We’ll also explore how GMF can help make your project a success through our tools, resources, and grant and loan offerings.

How to create an efficiency financing program for your community

1:30–3 p.m.

Energy use in homes accounts for up to a quarter of community-wide greenhouse gas emissions and is a significant priority for achieving municipal climate change goals. By creating a local financing program for home energy upgrades, your municipality can empower residents to improve the performance, comfort and affordability of their homes, while tackling climate change and driving investment in the local economy.

In this session, we will explore different models of local financing programs and how your community can get started with support from FCM’s Community Efficiency Financing initiative. You’ll learn from leading efficiency financing experts on the benefits of these programs and how they can be designed to meet your community’s sustainability goals. We’ll also discuss the support available for these programs through FCM’s Green Municipal Fund.

Guest presenters:

  • Ian McVey, Manager of Sustainability, Regional Municipality of Durham
  • Leon de Vreede, MCIP, LPP, Sustainability Planner, Community Development Department, Town of Bridgewater
  • Marco Iacampo, Senior Design Specialist, Green Municipal Fund, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

What could the urban forest of the future look like? Presented by Tree Canada

1:30–3 p.m.

Urban forestry is defined by the planning, cultivation and management of trees specific to urban settings. In recent years this specialized branch of forestry is seen as a nature-based solution that brings many health and environmental benefits. As we learn more about the value of trees and forests in urban areas, we also wonder about how the development of the urban forest fits into the overall municipal landscape and what opportunities and challenges can impact the future of green spaces across the country. Join us as we discuss this topic with leaders in this sector.

Facilitated by: Danielle St-Aubin, CEO, Tree Canada


  • Tree Canada: Dr. Adrina C. Bardekjian – Manager, Urban Forestry Programs and Research Development
  • Canadian Forest Service: Lise Caron - Director General
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative: Kathy Abusow - President and CEO
  • Canadian Institute of Forestry: Mark Pearson – Executive Director
  • FCM: Sara Jane O’Neill - Policy Advisor  Policy and Public Affairs

Wednesday, October 21

Sustainable Communities Awards Talks II 

1:30–3 p.m.

In this second of three webinars, four of our ten 2020 Sustainable Communities Award winners will present how their innovative projects are addressing sustainability issues in their communities. After the presentations, you'll have a chance to engage with the people behind these projects and learn how to advance projects in your own community. You’ll also be invited to vote for one SC Awards project to receive the 2020 Inspire Award, which commemorates the most innovative projects of the year.

Guest presenters:

  • Chris Osborne, Acting Manager, Long Range Planning & Sustainability, City of Campbell River
  • Claire Merckaert, Engineer, City of Montreal
  • Devin LaFleche, Special Projects Planner, Town of Cochrane
  • Gregory Robinson, Director of Community Development & Human Resources, Town of Raymond

Sustainable procurement: how to get started

1:30–3 p.m.

Public procurement is a key element in the Canadian economy, generating over $230 billion of GDP annually. Despite its importance, procurement is often not leveraged to its full potential in municipalities.

In this session we’ll explore case studies of communities that have successfully overcome the most common barriers to sustainable procurement. If done according to environmental principles, procurement can become a powerful tool to advance Canada’s sustainable development and begin to establish a circular economy.

Guest presenters:

  • Tim Reeve, President, Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing
  • Erin MacDonald, Senior Procurement Consultant, Finance and Asset Management, Regional Municipality of Halifax

Net-zero and deep energy retrofits in community housing       

1:30–3 p.m.

Canada’s social housing stock is aging and in need of repair. This formidable challenge brings the opportunity to introduce 21st century innovations that not only make the housing stock more energy efficient  and improve the building condition, but also address GHG emissions and energy poverty.

In this session you’ll hear from two of the country’s leading innovators in the social housing sector. They’ll share insights gained from ambitious net-zero retrofit projects—one a high-rise and the other a townhouse retrofit—that are designed to be replicated.

Guest presenters:

  • Dan Dicaire, Manager of Energy and Sustainability, Ottawa Community Housing
  • Sean Botham, Senior Development Project Manager, City Housing Hamilton Corporation

Asset management and the Sustainable Development Goals

1:30–3 p.m.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a critical international framework for promoting prosperity and protecting the planet. Local governments are key players in this campaign and are best placed to respond to the challenges posed by climate change. In this session we’ll explore how communities can use asset management to meet their SDG commitments. We’ll also discuss how sustainably managing their built infrastructure and natural assets enables municipalities to make service delivery and decision-making more accountable, inclusive and transparent.

Moderator: Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener

Guest presenters:

  • Gracelyn Shannon, Asset Management Manager, Regional District of Comox Valley
  • Leanne Brannigan, BA, CSCMP, PMP, Manager, Corporate Asset Management, Region of Peel
  • Roy Brooke, Executive Director, Municipal Natural Assets Initiative

Prince George Chamber of Commerce Carbon Reduction Project - Presented by CN

1:30–3 p.m.

The Chamber Carbon Action Program, or C²AP for short, is built on the foundation of finding opportunities for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint through easy to implement solutions. This is further enhanced by developing strategic partnerships with private business and post-secondary institutions, creating work integrated learning programs that better prepare our next generation of business professionals. 

In this session you will learn how three partners work together to promote the application of post-secondary classroom theory towards the creation of customized carbon footprints.  The data utilized is provided by local businesses that value the analyses, results and recommendations produced at internationally recognized standards.   Learn how carbon footprints analyses fit business and learning.


Dr Kyrke Gaudreau, Manager – Impact Research and Performance, Federation of Canadian Municipalities


  • Dr Kathy Lewis, Acting Vice President Research, University of Northern British Columbia
  • Barbara Otter, Grants Administrator, Prince George Chamber of Commerce
  • Louisa Hadley, Ecological Footprint Technician, Galiano Conservancy Association
  • Chantale Despres, Director, Sustainability, CN

Thursday, October 22

Sustainable Communities Awards Talks III

1:30–3 p.m.

In this third of three webinars, three of our ten 2020 Sustainable Communities Award winners will present how their innovative projects are addressing sustainability issues in their communities. After the presentations, you'll have a chance to engage with the people behind these projects and learn how to advance projects in your own community. You’ll also be invited to vote for one SC Awards project to receive the 2020 Inspire Award, which commemorates the most innovative projects of the year.

Guest presenters:

  • Megan Lohmann, Head of Community Energy Management (Community Energy Association) on behalf of Kootenays Regional Districts
  • Lori Rissling Wynn, Sustainability Coordinator, Town of Canmore
  • Geoff Mulligan, Infrastructure Management Technician, City of Vernon

Going for goal: Cost-saving energy solutions for your rink

1:30–3 p.m.

Indoor ice rinks are at the heart of Canadian communities. But they also consume 20-30% of the municipal energy budget, contribute to climate change, and are at risk from rising energy prices. Fortunately, there is a tremendous opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of existing arenas through maintenance upgrades. In this session, you’ll learn how municipal champions used practical and cost-saving solutions to upgrade the performance of their arenas – one of several high-impact solutions in GMF’s recently released Municipal Energy Roadmap.

Guest presenters:

  • Gillian Henderson, Director, Projects and Programs, Climate Challenge Network
  • Kathryn Wilson, Program Manager, Mayors' MegaWatt Challenge
  • Les Quinton, Park & Recreation Manager, Town of Black Diamond

GMF 101: A guide to our many funding opportunities

1:30–3 p.m.

There has never been a better time to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. In this session, we’ll explore how the Green Municipal Fund can financially support municipalities and communities to bring their projects across multiple streams:

  • GMF Core funding offer (Brownfields, Transport, Energy, Waste, Water)

  • Community Efficiency Financing (innovative financing programs that enable higher energy performance and lower GHG emissions in low-rise residential homes)

  • Sustainable Affordable Housing (energy efficient retrofit or construction of new affordable housing)

    Guest presenter: Ciara Backwell, Advisor, Programs Outreach, FCM Programs
    Moderated by: Jim Wren, Advisor, Programs Outreach, FCM Programs

Asset design and the triple bottom line

1:30–3 p.m.

The session will profile the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) process that the City of Windsor has been developing for large infrastructure projects, then lead participants through a scenario exercise that weighs TBL indicators in a road redevelopment scenario.

Guest presenter: Karina Richters, Manager of Sustainability and Climate Change, City of Windsor

Climate action planning for equity and transformation

1:30–3 p.m.

This innovation-focused session will examine transforming strategic planning practices as key to climate action. We’ll spotlight the City of Kitchener, whose leadership team is currently exploring the adoption of these kinds of innovations. We’ll also discuss an international research partnership that works with cities to innovate and integrate social equity and accessibility into their climate action planning.

Guest presenters:

  • Allison Ashcroft, Managing Director, Canadian Urban Sustainability Practitioners
  • Randy Sa’d, Executive Director, REFOCUS & Flourishing Enterprise Institute, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor, City of Kitchener
  • Manuel Riemer, Professor of Community Psychology and Sustainability Science; Director, VERiS
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